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Cervical Fusion

Hi - I am new to this forum. I have a bulging disc at C5/6 and surgery is recommended. I was rear ended in an auto accident. The case is a govt case due to the fact the driver was going to an NIH conference. They have made a low settlement offer due to the fact that I have not had the recommended surgery.

The fact is I am terrified that I will need another fusion somewhere else down the line. Or, that my cord will be nicked and I will end up paralyzed.

If you knew my life story, you would understand my fears of the worst happening to me.

I hope someone can give me some encouragement. I have been living w the pain and on pain medications.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
    Here are just some of the highlights:

    - Detailed medical libraries of Articles and Videos that address almost every Spinal Conditions and Treatment

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    - Under the Resource tab, there is a section Doctor Advice Health Center which can be invaluable.

    - As a bonus, Spine-Health provides these patient forums. Here is where you can meet thousands of other people who understand and can relate to your situation. You will soon become part of the Spiney family who provide comfort and the advantages of a Support System. You are now part of this family that is approximately 20,600 International members and growing daily.

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    If you have any questions or need assistance, you can use the Private Message facility to contact any one of the Moderators on my team:
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Hi Secondtime - I do have an attorney. They are telling me that the reason the government will not settle with me is because I have not had surgery. The accident was in 2008. They want to try my case and argue that I will never have surgery since I have not had it up to now. I am considering the surgery because I do get tired of the pain. BUT, I am more worried about blowing out other discs due to the torque put on the spine when it is meant to be flexible.

    Anyone out there who has had a successful cervical fusion??
  • Hi Den,

    I have had 2 cervical fusion surgeries, however a disturbing trend with folks that have had these fusions is that the adjacent levels tend to go bad because those adjacent discs have to do more of the work. This has been a problem that I continue to live with today.

    In 2007, I had C5/6 and C6/7 fused successfully and chose to have this done because I had lost much use of my right arm. It couldn't lift it above my shoulder and couldn't extend it fully outward. In July 2011, I had to have C3/4 and C4/5 fused because I kept having headaches and tingling and numbness on right side of my head and ear.

    I won't even get into my lumbar issues as that is outside the scope of this discussion, but that's another saga.

    If I were you, I would weigh carefully whether or not these symptoms are costing you quality of life, if there are a serious hindrance to your life and anything else you can think of. There is a lot of good info on this web-site with many other folks that can tell you"just how it is." Good luck to you!!

  • Thank you, Charlie for the advice.

    I have just learned that the liability carrier for my wreck will not consider future surgery costs because they believe I will never had a fusion, and why should they pay.

    I am in pain everyday. I have learned to live with it because my fear of doing a fusion and having a blow out is scary to me.
    The surgeon told me that he would only do one level, since the more levels fused, the greater the chances of a blow out.
  • diamondeddiamonde Posts: 185
    edited 04/18/2013 - 7:05 AM
    Hi ya, I had a very successful ACDF of C4/5 and C5/6 about 4 or 5 years ago. I had radiculopathy, no grip at all, pins/needles and PAIN... I was on lyrica for pain relief before i was advised I had to have the surgery... no choice really due to my MRI results... and they advised I was risking permanent nerve damage... kind of liked holding a cup of coffee LOL... so the deal was made... and in I went... I was back to work 3 weeks later... and feeling pretty dang good around 3 months post op, Recovery was a doddle compared to my lumbar fusion... but if you've nothing to compare it to... its sore, and you need to be patient... I won't go into all that here.. there are plenty of articles online to help you prepare for a cervical fusion (although I strongly recommend having a recliner chair!)... anyway... take a look online at research articles about the success rate of the type of fusion they want to do for you.. then check with your consultant about his/her success rates... yes there is always a risk... but as others have said.. at some point you have to weigh up the pain and suffering... your quality of life... and what you might gain by having the procedure! I have chronic pain... and manage.... but its not my neck LOL... its my other nonsense... i've been lucky with successful surgeries... just have lousy genetics!! Also... i wouldn't base my decision on settlements... i'd base it on physical need and quality of life... if you're gonna do it... just pick the best surgeon you can find... I went with a neurosurgeon as opposed to an orthapaedic for my neck op... made me feel better that the neurosurgeon was used to working around the brain... that was my anxiety at the time... good luck to you!
    L4-L5 fusion 1998; ACDF C4-6 2008; DDD
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